Australia, PNG discussing naval base in Manus


Australia is currently having discussions with Papua New Guinea on the joint initiative on building a naval base in Lombrum, Manus, an official says.
The current negotiation that is going on between the two countries was announced by prime ministers Scott Morrison and Peter O’Neill in November during the Apec leaders’ summit, Australia High Commission second secretary of public diplomacy Joanna Larvin said.
“Unfortunately, the high commissioner is not available to give any accurate updates of the talks,” Larvin said.
She said PNG and Australia were working with USA to build the former World War 2 base there.
Larvin said Australia was engaging with USA at the invitation of the PNG Government.
PNG Defence Force commander Gilbert Toropo recently said discussions between the countries to build the naval base were still going on.
Toropo said establishment of the base would tighten PNG’s maritime security system to stop illegal fishing, drug trafficking, sea robberies, illegal border crossing and also build an avenue for international trade for the country.
“The discussions are underway now with them (Australia and USA),” he said.
“Australia has already assisted us with boats that will be used in Manus.”